GCC travellers spent over 1.3 million overnight stays in Austria during the first 10 months of 2023.
Dubai-: As the cold season unfolds, the Austrian National Tourist Office invites travellers from the GCC countries to experience Austria’s enchanting winter wonderland.
The world-class winter destination offers a kaleidoscope of experiences, from carving exhilarating ski slopes to embarking on peaceful snowshoe treks. Whether you seek adventures that ignite your spirit or escapes that soothe your soul, Austria has something for everyone. Beyond traditional skiing and snowboarding, thrill-seekers can embark on off-piste journeys and ski tours.
Growing Popularity Among GCC Travellers
The allure of Austria as a holiday destination is reflected in the significant increase in overnight stays by GCC travellers. From January to October 2023, Austria welcomed 451,600 arrivals from the GCC, resulting in 1,377,400 overnight stays, a 33.01% increase compared to the same period in 2022.
Michael Tauschmann, Director of the Austrian National Tourist Office in the Middle East, highlights this trend: “The increasing popularity of Austria as a holiday destination among GCC travellers is a testament to our diverse and quality experiences. We are committed to continuing to provide memorable winter holidays that resonate with all our visitors.”
A Destination for Every Winter Enthusiast
Austria offers an ideal winter experience with its meticulously maintained ski slopes, advanced infrastructure, and state-of-the-art lifts, catering to skiing, cross-country skiing, and freeriding enthusiasts.
The backdrop to these winter activities is Austria’s breathtaking mountain panoramas, often paired with charming, historic old towns adorned with festive lights. This blend of nature and culture offers a mindful approach to enjoying winter, embodying the Austrian way of life that emphasises living in the moment and creating lasting connections.
Tauschmann added: ” Austria’s pristine, snow-clad landscapes and world-class alpine resorts provide unrivaled winter experiences. From exhilarating ski slopes and serene snowshoe hikes to culinary delights in mountain huts and the luxury of top-tier resorts, Austria offers a diverse range of activities designed to cater to a wide range of preferences, ensuring a memorable and personalised experience for every visitor. It’s encouraging to see a growing interest in Austria’s charming winter appeal from our guests in the GCC region, reflecting our country’s immense potential as a premier winter holiday destination.”
The popular destinations of Lech Zürs am Arlberg and Ischgl exemplify Austria’s diverse winter offerings. Lech Zürs, renowned for its beautiful landscapes, warm hospitality, and innovative tourism, caters to all winter sports enthusiasts. In the Tyrolean Alps, Ischgl offers a blend of vibrant adventure and relaxed luxury, from skiing to snowshoe hiking, gourmet dining, and luxurious spa experiences.
Lech Zürs am Arlberg: A Royal Winter Wonderland
Lech Zürs am Arlberg, a jewel in the crown of winter sports for over a century, harmoniously marries traditional charm with modern luxury. Nestled in the peaks of the Arlberg massif, this destination, beloved by European royalty, offers an unparalleled winter experience. Visitors can savour the thrill of skiing on untouched snow and relish the post-skiing atmosphere, ensuring a visit filled with unforgettable moments.
In this Austrian alpine haven, exclusive chalets like Chalet The Barn provide top-notch amenities and skiing facilities. The small yet sophisticated community is a paradise for culinary aficionados, where top-tier cuisine is a staple. Remarkably, Lech Zürs is named as the “World Gourmet Village,” holding the highest density of award-winning restaurants per capita globally.
Lech Zürs caters to all skill levels with its varied terrain, stretching from 1,300 to 2,800 meters. Boasting 87 ski lifts, over 300 kilometres of ski runs, and 200 kilometres of high Alpine deep powder runs, the area is a paradise for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Renowned for its reliable snow from November to April, it also offers unique activities like heli-skiing.
For cross-country skiing enthusiasts, 27 kilometres of well-groomed trails await. Snowshoe hiking provides a serene way to explore the breathtaking landscapes, while romantic horse-drawn sleigh rides add enchantment. For those looking for a traditional and fun activity, curling offers a delightful contrast to adrenaline-packed winter sports.
Ischgl: The Pinnacle of Winter Entertainment
Ischgl, a jewel nestled in the Tyrolean Alps, presents a unique fusion of exhilarating ski experiences and the allure of relaxed luxury. It stands as one of Austria’s largest ski resorts, renowned for its extensive skiing season stretching from November to May offering a mix of exhilarating ski slopes and luxury, it features pristine snow-sure slopes suitable for all levels, including a cross-border area with Samnaun, Switzerland.
The resort is also famous for its high-quality accommodations and gourmet dining, with numerous toque-awarded restaurants. The destination offers a variety of winter activities like winter hiking, tobogganing, and fat biking, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the stunning alpine landscape.
Its cultural heartbeat is best experienced through the Top of the Mountain concert series against the breathtaking backdrop of the Alps, which mark the season’s opening and closing, featuring international stars like the award-winning German rapper Nina Chuba and folk rock’n’roll icon Andreas Gabalier.
As night falls, Ischgl’s lively post-skiing social scene comes alive, earning it the nickname “Ibiza of the Alps.” The town buzzes with energy, featuring rustic huts, bustling bars, lively pubs, and discos that resonate with live music. Its clubs, with cult followings, offer an atmosphere where the socialising rivals the intensity of the skiing. The town’s motto, “Relax if you can,” aptly captures its spirited essence.
Accessibility to Austria’s Winter Paradises
Reaching these winter havens is convenient. Direct flights to Austria from major GCC cities, followed by short transfers, bring travellers to the heart of these enchanting winter landscapes.
For Lech Zürs, the nearest airports are Altenrhein, Innsbruck, and Friedrichshafen. However, the larger Zurich International Airport, situated less than 200 km away, provides a convenient option with transfer times of under 2.5 hours by road or 3-4 hours by train to Langen am Arlberg, the nearest railway station. Distances to these airports are approximately 100 km for Altenrhein, 120 km for Innsbruck, 130 km for Friedrichshafen, and 200 km for Zurich.
Ischgl, on the other hand, is well-connected to Innsbruck, Zurich, and Munich airports. Travellers can expect travel times of about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Innsbruck, 2 hours and 35 minutes from Zurich, and 3 hours from Munich by road. An alternative route is to take a train to Landeck and then continue the journey by bus or taxi to Ischgl.